Target does a great job at making me feel good about spending money there. They got rid of their “girl toys” and “boy toys” aisles and just sort things logically, like “dolls, puzzles, blocks, games, etc.” They offer shopping carts with special seats for larger kids with special needs. And they just introduced a new line of sensory-friendly clothes for kids with autism and other special needs.

Sensory-friendly clothes

Children with autism and other sensory problems often can’t bear clothing that irritates them. Tags itch. Sock toes rub, or the elastic pinches at the ankle. Even basic seams can render a garment unwearable. It can be hard to predict what will be acceptable. We might think we’re putting our kids in the comfiest pajama-type clothing ever. But some quirk about the way a pocket is sewn in can cause intense aggravation.

Recognizing the need for super-comfortable, sensory-friendly clothing, Target has added several sensory-friendly pieces to its Cat and Jack kids’ line. They’re on the website now.

The sensory-friendly clothes are designed to be ultra comfortable. They have no tags, and the seams are flat and covered so they shouldn’t rub. The clothes lack embellishment that might make fabric stiff or itchy or have poky sequins.

The clothes are really cute, too.

The line isn’t perfect. The pink tops are listed as “girls” and the gray tops are listed as “boys,” even though they’re both just plain tops. And the girls get puppies and hearts and the boys get dinosaurs, as though those things aren’t awesome to everybody. The clothes could be used for any kid, though. There’s a sensory-friendly T-shirt of a T-rex riding a scooter, and I’m wondering if I could squeeze into it myself.

target sensory-friendly

Image: Target

The line even includes leggings that are specially designed to be roomier, so they fit over a diaper. Most baby and toddler leggings are cut to cover a diaper. But leggings slim down in larger sizes because manufacturers assume everybody over four is potty-trained. That’s not necessarily the case, though. Some parents find they have trouble changing larger children because the clothes are too tight in certain places.

Target designer Stacey Monsen came up with that idea from personal experience.

“I have a 7-year-old daughter, Elinor, who has autism. She’s not potty-trained, which means finding clothes that fit is a challenge. For pants or shorts, I either size way up, or buy pieces that are all function, no style,” she said.

The leggings have a higher rise and a little more room through the hips, to make them fit more easily over a diaper. They’d fit fine over regular underwear, too. They’d just squeeze a bit less over the hips, which a lot of kids would probably like, too.

The sensory-friendly clothes released this week are just the start, too. Target intends to add more clothes for kids with special needs to the Cat and Jack line. Upcoming items could have zip-off sleeves, openings in the backs or sides, and other improvements to help make caregivers’ lives a little easier.

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(Image: Target)